My summer resolution. I have made a commitment to myself and my family that this summer I am going to challenge myself to be more present, to live in the moment, to take time to enjoy the simple pleasures of life. If any of you multiple hat wearers would like to join me on this quest this summer, I thought it would be helpful to provide us with some guidance to follow in order to achieve our objective.
1. Use car rides with members of your family as an opportunity to connect with them, prepare them for or ask about their day, tell stories, sing together (or not!), etc. In other words, stay off your phone.
2. Make one night a week a NO ELECTRICITY NIGHT where you don’t turn on any electronics and instead you play (offline) games, read books, make a meal together on the gas grill outside, and maybe even illuminate your home with candles if you are up past dark. In so doing, you can share some intimate moments with your family and, as an added benefit, you can teach your children about environmental stewardship.
3. Save your work, et. al. until after your children go to sleep. Engage with them fully until you tuck them into bed. Don’t worry; your work (or FB page or Twitter account) will still be there for you when you come back to it.
4. Plan a family-centric trip (e.g., to visit the Monterey Bay Aquarium, to go to a beach, to explore a state or national park, etc.) and try your best to leave your other obligations behind.
5. Enjoy outdoor activities with your children — hiking, camping, fishing (catch and release, of course), beachcombing, gardening, etc. Communing with nature is an amazing way for you and your family to be present.
The gift of being present. This summer, allow yourself to experience the gift of being present. If, while you are figuring it out yourself, you would like to introduce the concept of being present to your young children, then I recommend reading them What Does It Mean To Be Present?, which is currently available for pre-order.